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First Amendment, Libel and Ethics Review Freedom vs. Responsibility.

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1 First Amendment, Libel and Ethics Review Freedom vs. Responsibility

2 Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. The First Amendment

3 A promise by the government to respect the individual rights of its people relating to:  Religion  Speech  Press  Assembly  Petition First Amendment rights are not unlimited

4 The role of a free press Creating an informed citizens  “Marketplace of ideas” Watchdog “Conscience of society”

5 “[W]ere it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” — Thomas Jefferson Letter to Colonel Edward Carrington (January 16, 1787)

6 Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District A case where students were suspended from school for wearing black arm bands in protest of the Vietnam War Mary Beth Tinker (right) with her mother, Lorena, and younger brother, Paul

7 Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969) The U.S. Supreme Court recognizes that the First Amendment protects on- campus student speech

8 Neither students nor teachers “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of expression or speech at the schoolhouse gate.” — Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District(1969)

9  Unlawful speech  Physically disruptive speech

10 Which types of speech are not protected by the First Amendment? 1.Defamation (includes libel, slander) 2.Fighting words 3.Obscenity (Child pornography) 4.Incitement to imminent lawless action 5.Perjury 6.Solicitations to commit crimes 7.Commercial speech that is false or deceptive may be regulated

11 A school’s unsupported claim that a publication could disrupt school activities or might incite lawless activity is not enough to satisfy Tinker. Best proof of a disruption is:  School walkout  Fight  Damage to school property

12 Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988) The U.S. Supreme Court significantly reduces the level of First Amendment protection provided to most school-sponsored student media at public high schools

13 Hazelwood case involved divorce, birth control, abortion, and runaways

14 What did the Hazelwood case mean for public school newspapers? The Supreme Court ruled that administrators and/ or school board members have the power to censor a school newspaper.

15 What did the Hazelwood case mean for public school newspapers? When a school's decision to censor is "reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical (teaching) concerns," it will be permissible. In other words, if a school can present a reasonable educational justification for its censorship, that censorship will be allowed.

16 What did the Hazelwood case mean for public school newspapers? In essence, the majority opinion of the Supreme Court said that the rights of public school students are not necessarily the same as those of adults in other settings. The student newspaper at Hazelwood East High School, it said, was not a "forum for public expression" by students, and thus the censored students were not entitled to broad First Amendment protection

17 “Reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns” Is there a reasonable educational justification? Examples include material that is:  “Biased or Prejudiced”  “Unsuitable for immature audiences”  “Ungrammatical”  Material that would “associate the school with anything other than neutrality on matters of political controversy”

18 The Fraser Standard (Bethel School District. No. 403 v. Fraser, 1986) In the case of Bethel v. Fraser, the Supreme Court ruled that school officials could punish high school senior Matthew Fraser for giving a speech before the student assembly that contained lewd references.


20 At a school-sanctioned and school-supervised event, petitioner Morse, the high school principal, saw students unfurl a banner stating “BONG HiTS 4 JESUS,” which she regarded as promoting illegal drug use. Consistent with established school policy prohibiting such messages at school events, Morse directed the students to take down the banner. When one of the students who had brought the banner to the event—respondent Frederick—refused, Morse confiscated the banner and later suspended him. The school superintendent upheld the suspension, explaining that Frederick was disciplined because his banner appeared to advocate illegal drug use in violation of school policy.

21 MORSE v. FREDERICK Because schools may take steps to safeguard those entrusted to their care from speech that can reasonably be regarded as encouraging illegal drug use, the school officials in this case did not violate the First Amendment by confiscating the pro-drug banner and suspending Frederick. Frederick’s argument that this is not a school speech case is rejected. The event in question occurred during normal school hours and was school sanctioned event at which the district’s student-conduct rules expressly applied. Frederick stood among other students, teachers, and administrators across the street from the school and directed his banner toward the school, making it plainly visible to most students. Under these circumstances, Frederick cannot claim he was not at school.

22 MORSE v. FREDERICK The Court agrees with Morse that those who viewed the banner would interpret it as advocating or promoting illegal drug use, in violation of school policy. At least two interpretations of the banner’s words—that they constitute an imperative encouraging viewers to smoke marijuana or, alternatively, that they celebrate drug use— demonstrate that the sign promoted such use. This pro-drug interpretation gains further plausibility from the paucity of alternative meanings the banner might bear.

23 MORSE v. FREDERICK What has this decision meant for high school students? Students can be held accountable to the code of conduct off school grounds. Drug abuse by the Nation’s youth is a serious problem. For example, Congress has declared that part of a school’s job is educating students about the dangers of drug abuse, see, e.g., the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1994, and petitioners and many other schools have adopted policies aimed at implementing this message. Student speech celebrating illegal drug use at a school event, in the presence of school administrators and teachers, poses a particular challenge for school officials working to protect those entrusted to their care.

24 State Anti-Hazelwood Laws These states give students more freedom Arkansas California Colorado Iowa Kansas Extra Info: Not on the test Massachusetts Pennsylvania Washington

25 How did school newspapers change during the 1960’s and 1970’s? Students took a more active role in politics and social change. Students wanted their school newspapers to address the issues that directly affected their lives.

26 Why did school newspapers change during the 1960’s and 1970’s Their awareness was due to the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement.

27 In legal terms what is a forum? It is a place that public speech is protected. "Streets and parks... have immemorially been held in trust for the use of the public and, time out of mind, have been used for purposes of assembly, communicating thoughts between citizens, and discussing public issues.

28 Define Censorship: The simplest censorship is prior restraint. It stops one from doing something

29 How could censorship affect what is put into a school newspaper? Supreme Court Justice Brennan said that the censorship at Hazelwood East "aptly illustrates how readily school officials (and courts) can camouflage viewpoint discrimination as the 'mere' protection of students from sensitive topics." You shouldn’t be censored just because someone doesn’t like your opinion

30 Briefly list at least four ways to avoid censorship: 1. Advisers & editors should stress that reporters gather all facts fully, fairly, and accurately 2. Editor and adviser should have a working relationship with the administration 3. Staff members should know the law 4. Use proper procedures


32 What is obscenity and what are its conditions? Obscenity is offensive to accepted standards of decency or modesty Conditions of Obscenity: 1. Apply current community standards 2. Does the work depict in a patently offensive way an illegal sexual conduct 3. The work, taken as a whole, lacks any serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. Community values vary, so rulings on obscenity vary.

33 According to the textbook what is the simplest reason why newspapers don’t print obscene language? The simplest answer is good taste and sound ethics.

34 ACLU v. State of Michigan

35 High School Students And the First Amendment: Restricted Vs. Protected

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